Smells Like Teen Spirit
When I was making my first CD, “Bloom,” way back in 1994, I sent a solicitation letter to friends and family. It read, in essence, “Please help me win a Grammy.” That was the penultimate then. Today I was a heartbeat away from the red carpet. I wasn’t on it, but I was near it. Here’s how it went down.
2:01 AM – The cell phone rings. Christina Aguilera’s gotten engaged. I boot up my laptop and publish the story to MTV News.
3:24 AM – I reset my alarm for 9:00 AM.
7:37 AM – The hotel phone rings. Craig wants to know when I’m heading over to the Staples Center. I toss and turn a while.
8:01 AM – I get out of bed.
8:11 AM – Whitney, one of our talent bookers, calls to tell me that John Legend, one of the two artists we’re shooting photos of getting ready for the awards in his hotel room, has thrown a wrench in the works: he’s getting dressed backstage. I begin to credential my crew.
8:22 AM – Production management guru Nicole Collins calls to ask if I’m taking the shuttle bus. “Nope.”
8:23 AM – Erika calls to ask if I’m taking the shuttle. “Nope.”
8:24 AM – Producer Jane Mun needs me to upload a bunch of photos to test our “Instant Fashion Profile.” I use pictures of Ethan at the park.
8:33 AM – Room service arrives as I juggle my cell phone between John Legend’s manager and Jane Mun. I eat while I shower.
9:20 AM – I hit the road in the rent-a-Hyundai. I hear Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” twice en route.
10:00 AM – I spot the Hollywood sign while driving west on Sunset. I think about how differently I spend my time in Losa Angeles than the days when Matt and I would grab a Fatburger, drive up to Grffith Observatory, and spend hours looking down on the city. I also realize that I haven’t seen the Pacific once.
12:01 PM – LAPD does a bomb sweep. We’re kicked out of the truck farm, so we sit on 11th Street in front of the red — green, really — carpet and talk amongst ourselves. I call Madonna, my dad’s wife, to wish her a happy birthday. Unfortunately, I’ve missed her birthday. Because I suck.
12:42 PM – We wait in craft services line. Union guys get to cut in front of us. The turkey burger’s just on the edge of undercooked, but it’s delicious.
1:34 PM – Arrivals begin. We take our positions. Game on.
2:01 PM – News VP Ocean MacAdams pops into my trailer and says, “You’re not gonna’ like this, but Eve and John Legend are arriving early. We need their Instant Fashion stuff for pre-tape by 3:45.” “We’ll hit it,” I tell him, even though I’m not sure we will.
2:44 PM – Matt shows up with photos of Eve for the IFP.
3:37 PM – The TV production truck is hassling me for IFP. I promise it in :30. My laptop crashes.
3:39 PM – My boss calls. “Eve is on the red carpet. Are you ready?” I run next door and order the photos and captions over Jane’s shoulder.
3:48 PM – Owen shows up with photos of John Legend (who we shot in his hotel room after all). We got photos and captions online and into the truck in less than ten minutes. Which is good, because the MTV News Grammy Pre-Show starts in ten.
4:22 PM – I take a walk along the backside of the red carpet. I see Kanye, James Brown, Incubus, Usher, Duff McKaegen, Usher, John Ceceda, Star Jones, Joss Stone, and Hulk Hogan. Then I cross the street, and go back to work.
5:09 PM – The show’s begun. The carpet’s nearly empty. Everyone’s packing up.
6:36 PM – I grab my third Vitawater and a fistful of grapes.
6:47 PM – Dinner: BBQ chicken, baked potato, steamed vegetables, and a homemade biscuit, and a Vitawater. I tell the dude from Filmmagic, “This is better than I eat at home.”
10:54 PM – Andrea says, “I’m Vita-drunk.”
11:54 PM – The power goes out in our truck. We leave.
I’m skipping all kinds of stuff, like all the smart assed remarks my colleagues made during the show, and a whole bunch of hustle and heart from all of them. In the end, though, today was like most other days, except my view was slightly different. Instead of seeing the Upper West Side out the window, I watched the music industry celebrate itself. I wasn’t invited. But I was there. Which seems just about right, I guess.